Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow
love. Where there is injury, pardon. Where there is doubt, faith. Where
there is despair, hope. Where there is darkness, light, And where there is
sadness, joy. O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek To be
consoled, as to console; To be understood, as to understand; To be loved, as
to love. For it is in giving that we receive; It is in pardoning that we are
pardoned; And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen. ~
Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi
When you are married to a teacher that teaches in the inner city you quickly
learn self esteem concepts. Self esteem basically means learning to love
yourself and learning to look for the positive in your world. Loving
yourself and thinking positively is contagious. When you begin to think in
this manner you will draw people to you that want to be your friend (or lover if
you are single). This will improve your self esteem even more and theirs
Whatever religious tradition you are from it is important to conceptualize
that you are an immortal spirit being and that you are precious. This
concept alone will improve your self esteem if you internalize it. If you
have no religious beliefs then at least try to conceptualize that your life here
on earth has profound potential and that you have the ability to touch many
lives if you believe. That belief will also improve your self esteem if
you internalize it.
The statements above are called positive affirmations, or beliefs that you
tell yourself often in order to get rid of the negative affirmations that others
have told you or you have told yourself. Negative affirmations will damage
your self esteem. Positive affirmations will improve it if you can
internalize them. Here are some excellent affirmations that I found
on a another website
Some additional positive things you may wish to consider to improve your self
esteem are lots of friendships, knowing yourself and what makes you happy, knowing what love really is, learning to laugh, and
living in the present.
Lots of friendships- I don't need to say a lot about this.
Everyone knows that people that have lots of friends are happier than people
that stick to themselves. Just try to pick friends that are positive
and affirm you.
Here's another interesting note about relationships... Did you know that most all of the major world religions say that the only thing you get to take with you into the next life (whatever you think it might be) is your relationships?
Here's another interesting note about friendships and
relationships. Hindus and Buddhists and others that believe in
reincarnation and Karma say that one of the main reason we are reborn (or incarnated) is
so that we can eventually learn to unconditionally love all those with
whom we come into contact. Christians say that unconditional love is an indication whether you really are a christian or not. Obviously relationships are pretty
important in many religious traditions. Here's a very interesting website I found on friendships:
Knowing yourself means discovering what is already positive and unique
about you and learning to love yourself for these traits. You must
realize that you are likely not the person that everyone tells you that you
are since their perception of you is distorted by imperfections in their own
self concept. You should also realize that you should base your image
of yourself in the present and not in the future or the past, since the
present is all that you can directly control.
If you don't know what love really is you aren't going to be very happy and if you don't first love yourself you aren't going to know what love is. (See the positive affirmation section above). Love often gets confused for infatuation. Love and infatuation are different. Infatuation says "I need you because you make me feel good". Love begins by says "I like being around you because we get along well with each other" since love always starts out as a friendship. As love progresses it says "I love you because you've always been there for me". You also need to be aware that romance isn't going to give you any lasting happiness. Love is a funny thing. You aren't likely to find it until you first develop your inner self (see all the other references on this page). Once you develop your inner self love and romance will find you. You also need to know that your spiritual path is not meant to include only that one special person but it is meant to include many people that have a place in your heart. Love does not thrive when it is contained. It thrieves when it is shared. Here's a very good website that give a lot more information on this topic:
Don't take life so seriously. If the philosophers from the east are correct then it's all an illusion anyway. If they are wrong then you'll be much happier, easier to get along with, and healthier if you learn to laugh. Here's a website from a Licensed Social Worker that tells all about the benefits of laughter.
Living in the present moment is a far more difficult concept to master
than those previous concepts I've already listed. Living in the
present moment will give you a far richer awareness of yourself and your
world than if you dwell in your past thoughts or your future desires.
Living in the present can be learned by meditation. As you might
expect, Christianity, Hinduism, and Buddhism all have something to say about
meditation. The difference is that Christian meditation is outward (to
God) and the eastern forms of meditation are inward (to self). The
similarity is that they all involve stillness and teach you to live in the
present moment. Of course there are many more very good sites on this
topic which you can find on your own.
If you study various religious and philisophical perspectives you may notice many ideas that are very different that those you were raised with. Be aware that you tolerance is very conducive to your happiness. Intolerant people are usually not very happy. Tolerance also needs to extend to every area of your life, meaning you need to be tolerant of all people and whatever path they may choose to follow. Tolerance means the same thing as acceptance. You need to accept yourself with all your imperfections and you need to accept others also.
Other authors have written much about personal integrity, internal locus of control (accountability), contentedness, an attitude of success, and altruism as factors which contribute to personal happiness. There also seems to be an interconnectedness in many of these contributing factors to personal happiness, or having a great deal of one of these factors facilitates having all the rest of them.
And there are numerous self help books on the topic of self
esteem...probably more than you could ever read in a lifetime and it seems
that all of them are bestsellers. Suffice it to say that the
information is out there if you choose to look for it. Here are some of my personal favorites
"To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children
To earn the appreciation of honest critics,
and endure the betrayal of false friends.
To appreciate beauty. To find the best in others
To leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child,
a garden patch or a redeemed social condition.
To know one life has breathed easier because you have lived--
that is to have succeeded." Emerson